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Kings hang on to end three-game losing streak

11/9/2002

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Chris Webber's right hand was on ice --
and so was his impulse to condemn the Sacramento Kings' lackluster
performance.

Webber had 16 points, 17 rebounds and eight assists, and Peja
Stojakovic scored 22 points as the injury-plagued Kings snapped
their three-game losing streak and kept the Memphis Grizzlies
winless with a 99-91 victory Friday night.

Bobby Jackson had 20 points for the Kings, who blew nearly all
of a 29-point third-quarter lead before holding on for their 15th
victory in 17 meetings with the Grizzlies and their second in seven
days.

Sacramento won its third straight home game to end its longest
losing streak since February 2001, but the Kings barely hung on
against a stirring second-half rally by Memphis.

Injuries and an ever-shifting player rotation caused by the
resulting absences have been the primary culprit behind
Sacramento's 4-3 start. Seven key players have missed games, with
Mike Bibby and Scot Pollard currently out.

"It's frustrating, but right now is not the time to get
frustrated,'' Webber said. "It's time to keep working and grinding
and surviving through these injuries.''

Webber, his hand heavily wrapped as a precaution for an injury
from earlier this season, was neither excited nor discouraged after
his best rebounding performance in two years.

"I'm just trying to maintain all my body parts,'' said Webber,
who also had eight assists -- and eight turnovers while shooting
8-for-24. "I don't know if I've missed so many jump hooks and open
shots in my life.''

Webber missed the Kings' game in Memphis last week with an
abdominal injury.

Rookie Drew Gooden, a Northern California native playing in
front of friends and family, scored a career-high 23 points for the
Grizzlies, who remained the NBA's only winless team at 0-6 despite
an outstanding second half.

Memphis trailed 76-47 midway through the third quarter, but
roared back to get within four at 92-88 with 4:15 left, beating the
Kings at their own up-tempo game.

But Stojakovic and Webber hit free throws down the stretch, and
Webber rebounded Vlade Divac's missed free throw for a dunk and a
97-89 lead with 52 seconds left.

"Our heads aren't down,'' Grizzlies coach Sidney Lowe said.
"We made it a ballgame. We had a shot to win it, but we made
mistakes that young teams make. We had three chances to get it
close, and had two turnovers and one quick shot. We can't do
that.''

Coach Rick Adelman pleaded with his players to avoid the lapses
in determination that plagued them on the road earlier this week --
but it happened again.

"I guess I should have said it in whatever Vlade and Peja's
language is,'' Adelman said. "We've got to address that, or it's
going to carry over throughout the season. It's a lack of
concentration. You can't just come out there and start throwing
balls around.''

Doug Christie, playing in his first home game of the season, and
Divac had 10 points and 10 rebounds apiece for Sacramento, which
lost at Miami, Orlando and New York while six key players missed at
least one game with injuries.

More bad news awaited the Kings in Sacramento, where they
learned Pollard will be out at least a month with a stress fracture
in his back. Bibby is out until December with a broken foot, and
Mateen Cleaves still hasn't played this season with another foot
injury.

But the Kings never trailed against Memphis, leading by 22 in
the first quarter with their trademark passing and running.

Sacramento led 76-47 on consecutive baskets by Webber midway
through the third quarter -- but Memphis closed the third on a 27-10
run that included seven points by Gooden, last June's fourth
overall draft pick.

"Same old, same old -- we've been digging ourselves a big hole
that we can't get out of,'' Gooden said. "That first half was a
horrible exhibition of basketball. ... It's different. We're 0-6
now. I only lost four games the whole year last year (at Kansas).
It's a change, but it's an 82-game season. A lot can change.''

Stromile Swift had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Memphis. Jason
Williams, in another return to Arco Arena, had 11 points.

Game notes
An MRI exam Thursday night revealed Pollard's injury, which
will keep him out four-to-six weeks. Pollard had missed the Kings'
last three games with the first significant injury of his NBA
career. ... Sacramento had a 31-12 lead before Memphis even
committed its first foul. ... The Grizzlies put G Michael Dickerson
on the injured list with a groin injury. Dickerson missed all but
four games last season with a stress fracture near his groin, but
the team didn't say whether the new injury was related to the old
one.